Don’t focus on the things of this world!

June 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie
(2 Thessalonians 2:11 (NIV))

Is it just me, or are more and more people believing the lies of the enemy?

Have you ever stopped to consider why God would send a powerful delusion? I recently heard an explanation for this, and it is not because God has forsaken these people. It is because these individuals have made up their minds and they have forsaken God and His truths. They have completely rejected God and His offer of salvation. They love their sin more than they love themselves, and more importantly, they hate God.

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10b (NIV))

In my lifetime, I have seen lifestyle choices go from an attitude of shock to one of encouragement. I have seen a faith in Jesus go from a public embrace to a public ridicule. I have seen far more than these things and all of them are so much on the increase that it makes my head spin. It is for these reasons that I asked if more and more people are believing the lies of the enemy. Are we seeing the parable of the wheat and the tares unfolding right before our eyes?

My heart is heavy for those who have rejected God. We are now seeing that those who reject God are not even willing to have a conversation. They are so completely overrun with hatred of anything that speaks of God’s righteousness. Sadly, it appears that they have made their decision. As followers of Christ, we are called to make disciples, but we are also told that we are to draw the proverbial line in the sand.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
(Matthew 10:14-15 (NIV))

Don’t focus on the things of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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All of this can be yours!

June 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even though I walk
     through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
     for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
     they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
     in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
     my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
     all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
     forever.
(Psalms 23:4-6 (NIV))

I love how the Lord gives you a word that you need to hear. I also love that His Word applies just as much today as it did when it was originally given to the one who wrote it down.

With all that is going on in the world, do you feel that you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death? I realize that all throughout human history, we have experienced hardships, but something feels so much different than anything that I have experienced in my life. Things are rapidly accelerating and the events are all converging on the period of time that we have been told about – the end of the age!

Does that instill fear within you, or do you find comfort in knowing that what is transpiring has been told to us long ago? Do you find comfort in knowing that God is unfolding His timeline according to His Will and according to His perfect timing? Perhaps the question that I need to ask is one of a more personal nature. In essence, do you find yourself looking up as things unfold? Do you find yourself longing for the glorious moment when you will be in His presence or does this thought bring fear to your heart? We have nothing to fear if we will only accept the grace and mercy freely given to us through the cross. There has never been a more pressing time in your life to accept the gift freely given to all who will simply acknowledge that they are a sinner in need of a Savior.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we can place our faith in the One who holds all tomorrows in His hands. When you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, all of these things recorded by David will be yours and you, too, will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

All of this can be yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to love like Jesus?

May 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

How many people do you know for whom you would give up your life in order to save theirs?

If you are like most people, that number is relatively small and is probably limited to immediate family and maybe a few close friends. Some of us may even venture to say that we would do it for the greater good of humanity, but in all honesty, self preservation is a powerful human trait and not many of us would actually carry through with what we profess.

Jesus did!

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Jesus willingly laid down His life for anyone who has lived or will ever live just so that they can have their sins washed clean! He laid down His life for His friends. He laid down His life for you and I.

What makes us His friends?

You are my friends if you do what I command.
(John 15:14 (NIV))

What does Jesus command?

This is my command: Love each other.
(John 15:17 (NIV))

If we simply rely on our own human nature, we cannot love each other. We need help. We need to admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior. We must be willing to repent and follow Jesus. We must be willing to set our selfish natures aside and live our lives as Jesus lived His. We must be willing to follow Jesus and love those whom He loves. We must be willing to show that love in ways that may go beyond our comfort zones.

Are you willing to love like Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus loves me this much!

April 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

With just a few days left before we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, there is not a better passage to explain why Jesus went to the cross. We were lost in our sin and in need of a Savior, so God sent Jesus to save us by paying the debt owed for our sin. Our sinful nature separated us from God, so the Lord devised a plan to take all the sin upon Himself so that we could be free from the bondage of sin and death. There is no greater love that has ever been shown than this act of loving redemption and salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

When you were a child, did you ever stretch your arms way out to the side and tell someone that you loved them this much? That is exactly what Jesus did when He hung on the cross for you and I. He was telling the whole world that He loves us this much. His outstretched arms also tell us that He is waiting with open arms to embrace us as we embrace the grace and mercy that He freely gives to all who will simply accept. His open arms welcome us into the family of God as brothers and sisters and not as servants or slaves.

The next time that you need to remind yourself of just how much the Lord loves us, simply stretch out your arms like you did when you were a child and simply say, “Jesus loves me this much!”

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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But, on the third day . . .

April 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8 (NIV))

We are at that time of year when everyone knows of the celebration of what we call Easter. To be honest with you, I don’t like that name for the greatest event in all of history. We have allowed the name of an Assyrian goddess of war and sexual love to be the namesake of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Isn’t it just like the enemy to pervert and lie about something so wonderful and glorious as the resurrection of the Son of God?

But, enough of my ranting!

Let’s look at all that Jesus did and why we, as the Body of Christ, have a day to remind us of the greatest gift of all time.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

I could add many more passages, but we know that Jesus came into this world to pay the price for our sins through His death on the cross. He came to redeem the descendants of Adam, who condemned all to sin. He came to free us from the law of sin and death. He came to set the captives free!

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:18-19 (NIV))

I am eternally thankful for what Jesus did when He died on the cross, but that is not the end of the story.

But, on the third day . . .

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is love your goal?

March 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
(2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV))

As believers, we look at these qualities and desire to possess them, to make them an integral part of our lives, but have you ever thought of them as stepping stones to the ultimate godly characteristic? If you read the passage as it was written, they build one upon the other until you get to the desired end – love!

What do you think of when you hear the word “love?”

Is love the ultimate desire in your life or is your life tainted by the world’s definition of love? Do you associate love only with romantic or familial affection? Perhaps you are capable of extending love to those beyond your initial inner circle and can show love to people who are merely acquaintances. Is there more to what God defines as love?

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:8 (NIV))

Do you realize that this can be summarized as follows? If you do not show love as God defines love, then you have an ineffective and unproductive partial knowledge of Jesus!

Ouch!

Did that hit home?

I know that it does for me.

We like to think that God would have sent Jesus into this world if we had been the only sinner in need of a Savior, and, to be completely honest with you, I am sure that He would have. However, we are not the only one who needed a Savior.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

God’s love is available to any who will simple accept it, but we are not called to hold onto it for ourselves. That is completely selfish and shows a total lack of love. We are called to show God’s love to others. It is God’s desire for us to mature in our faith so that we can be a witness to anyone and everyone whom we meet. That should also be our desire, our goal in our walk of faith.

Is love your goal?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is God working things in your life?

March 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

There are so many things that I could ask based on this passage, but they all hinge upon a single question.

Do you love God?

If your answer is that you love God, then have you been called according to His purpose? Have you answered His call?

Contrary to what many people believe, if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and you rely on this profession to show that you love God, then you have a calling. We don’t just simply sit back and do whatever we want while reaping the blessings. We are each called to share those blessings with the world. We are called to share Jesus!

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

These words were spoken to the disciples after His resurrection and at His ascension, but they still apply to you and I today. The disciples passed that responsibility to others, who passed it to others, who passed it to others as it eventually made it to you and I. The instructions haven’t changed. We, as professing members of the Body of Christ, are all called to preach the gospel. That calling hasn’t changed since it was given, but what has changed are the people who are the ones who should now be responding to that calling. Those people are you and I! What has changed are the individuals who have been gifted with unique abilities to reach people that only they can reach.

Think about that!

There are lost people in your circle of influence who need to know Jesus.

Have you ever shared the Gospel? Have you ever felt a burden for a lost individual? Have you ever prayed for God to show you how to tell someone about Jesus? Have you ever asked God to specifically show you His will and His call upon your life? Perhaps you are simply content going through life thinking that you have your salvation and that someone else will take the responsibility of sharing with the people whom you are called to shared Jesus with?

If you truly love God, then you should want to tell everyone about what He has done.

Think about that in terms of a worldly relationship. When you were dating someone new, you told everyone you know about that person. You probably talked on and on about the cute way that they smiled and how they made you smile. Think about what God has done for you through His Son, Jesus. Isn’t it something far greater than a cute smile? Do you love the Lord? Do you have something so wonderful to share because of this new relationship?

Do you love God enough to share Him with others? Do you simply sit back and allow His calling to go unanswered? If you don’t answer His call, what does that say about your love for Him?

How is God working things in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must remember what God has given us!

March 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV))

I realize that I have referenced this passage at least once a year for the last few years. Can you blame me?

Every time that we turn around, something new has shown up on the world stage that appears to have the potential to be worse than the previous things that we thought were of great concern. If you have not professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, all of the events that seem to be escalating in intensity and frequency probably have you very concerned if not completely scared. If your only perspective is this world and the current state of this world, then it would scare most people to death. Sadly, I have seen recent statistics that point this out. It appears that death rates have risen significantly over the last two years with the majority of this increase coming from what we have labeled as the millennials. They see no hope for the future and are taking measures into their own hands. The majority of this generation was not raised to trust in God or even to believe that He exists, so when things get tough, they have no firm foundation on which to place their trust. They fear the future and see no way for anything good to come out of it.

I could fill up page after page of events detailing the ramifications of these events and what could be coming next. If you study Biblical prophesy, then Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation possibly come to mind as the events unfold right before us. I do not profess to know more than the people who recorded these books, but I do know that we are living in interesting times. On any given day, it is possible to see God’s timeline unfolding just from the news that we see.

Thankfully, we know the outcome. We know God’s plans. We may not know the exact details, but He has given us enough to recognize His Hand at work. He has told us beforehand what will transpire so that we can overcome, so that we can have peace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Most people face the world in fear, but if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have nothing to fear. We can rely on His power and His love to see us through whatever the enemy sends our way as he faces his last days before Jesus returns. That should truly give us a sound mind, for we can rest assured that we are in Christ and that He is in us!

We must remember what God has given us!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What have you found?

February 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
(Proverbs 21:21 (NIV))

The United States of America’s Declaration of Independence states “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Do you pursue happiness, or are you eyes set on a higher standard of righteousness and love?

If you pursue happiness, will you achieve righteousness? I can think of many people who have pursued sinful ways to happiness. This is not righteousness in the eyes of the Lord. They do not find life, prosperity and honor even though they think that they have found happiness. What they have found is fleeting. What they have found does not lead to life, prosperity and honor. With that said, if you pursue righteousness and love, do you believe that you will achieve happiness? Think about that question in relation to the following passage.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:23 (NIV))

If we pursue righteousness and love, we get to share in God’s happiness!

Think about that concept. We get to share in God’s happiness. Can you imagine what that means? Can you comprehend all that this includes? If we pursue righteousness and love, we will find life, prosperity and honor, plus we will share in God’s happiness if we have been faithful in our pursuit.

How do you classify happiness?

What makes you happy? What do you think of when you want to make yourself happy?

Now, let’s stop to think about God’s thoughts.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Do you fully comprehend the height, depth and breadth of God’s happiness that we get to share?

We truly do find so much when we seek His righteousness!

What have you found?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We are called to do what Jesus did!

February 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
(1 John 3:10 (NIV))

The word “should” is used to express a command, an obligation, or something that is expected. Does this change the way that you read and understand this passage? Think about that in context. We use the word “should” so frequently that perhaps we have lost the understanding of what it means. Let’s try a little word replacement in the last sentence and see if that helps to strengthen our understanding.

We are commanded to love one another.

We are obligated to love one another.

We are expected to love one another.

Do these express a stronger sentiment than “We should love one another?” Our society has come to understand the meaning of that word to be something closer to the following scenario. It is suggested that we love one another, but I don’t think that we really need to. Is this how you have read and understood this passage? Is it nothing more than a simple suggestion that we can take or leave? If that is the case, then I truly am beginning to understand the state of the world. Each of us are so engrossed in our own little lives that we fail to realize that the whole world is in the same predicaments that we find ourselves in. We have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but we fail to recognize that it is up to us to share Jesus to a lost and dying world. We don’t go out of our way to show compassion to anyone. We run full speed ahead and ignore all of the hurting people that we encounter.

What did Jesus do?

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

Jesus saw the brokenhearted. He saw the outcast. He saw the sick and the dying. He saw the lost. He did not simply barge past them. He saw them and He had compassion on them. These people weren’t a hindrance to His ministry. They were, and still are, the sole purpose for all that He did.

And, . . .

We are called to do the same!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

We are called to do what Jesus did!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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